Make It For Your Date: Posole Soup

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Posole Soup via Esquire from Chef Matt Steigerwald of Lincoln Café

We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.  

  • Familiar Ingredients:  canola oil, chicken stock, roasted chicken, cliantro, lime juice, yellow onion, red bell pepper, jalepeño, kale, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, black pepper, salt, sugar, chopped tomatoes, goat cheese, avocado, radishes.
  • Not So Familiar Ingredients: chipotle chiles in adobo, hominy, poblano chile, cremini mushrooms, cumin, coriander, orange zest, scallions (which are green onions. Much more familiar now, right?).
  • Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish:  One deep soup pot to cook it all in, but you’ll need a few different sized bowls to hold the veggie mixture and spice mixture. It would also be handy to have a strainer for rinsing the hominy.

Soup? “Boring!” you say? Oh no, my friend. This soup is anything but. If the Most Interesting Man In The World‘s mascot was soup, this just might be it. Complex, yet totally harmonious flavor. A satisfying blend of vegetables and meat. Just enough heat to kick it into a higher gear (any Emeril fans still in existence?). Bam. (Do make sure the person you are trying to woo is ok with some heat. The final ingredients that are added once the soup is dished up help to cut the heat some, but this soup has that sneaky heat thing going on. Be sure to have a box of kleenex at the ready.)

This is a very easy soup to make, BUT… yes there is a but, there is a lot of prep work involved. Not hard prep work, just a lot of rinsing, chopping, zesting, more chopping, carving… you get the point. That being said, none of this prep-work is complicated, just time consuming. But know going in that the end result is truly fantastic, and your date is sure to be impressed by the incredible flavor of this dish.

Posole Ingredients

Lots of ingredients that all come together for amazing flavor. Click on the picture for recipe.

Due to the prep work, you need to give yourself about 2.5 hours from start to finish. The soup itself takes just over an hour, but give yourself the time to get all the ingredients ready to go so you have the soup done before it’s your dates bedtime (unless this is a cunning way to angle for a sleepover). There are steps you can take to have everything in the pot and simmering away, creating a heavenly aroma for your date to smell, as they walk in the door.

Veggie Mix – This can easily be prepped ahead of time. If you know your time is limited between work and the time you’ll make it through your front door, make the veggie mix the night before. Just be sure to store it in an air-tight container, or cover the bowl you throw it all in with foil. If you don’t come across a poblano chile, substitute a serrano. Cremini mushrooms are readily available at grocery stores, but in a pinch you can substitute white mushrooms. Cremini’s tend to be smaller than white though, so chop large white mushrooms accordingly (make them bite-size).

Spice Mix – You can also prepare the spice mix the day before, but hold off on the orange zest until you’re ready to actually make the posole. Many grocery stores or markets now offer spice in bulk, so if you know you won’t go through a full container of coriander or cumin within a year, check to see if you can buy a smaller amount in bulk. If not, challenge yourself to find recipes that will help you use that spice up.

Hominy – This is just corn that’s been akalized to essentially make it chewier. You can find it in the ethnic/Hispanic/Mexican food aisle of the grocery store.

Chicken – The easiest way to go about the chicken is to buy a rotisserie chicken from your local market that is cooked and ready to carve. You can always roast a chicken on your own, if you’re feeling extra productive. I’ve even baked 3 chicken breasts, chopped them up, and used them for the meat in this soup. I’d recommend going the full chicken route though. Having a variety of white and dark meat makes the dish richer. And you can carve it up ahead of time as well. As far as the stock, stick with low sodium. You’ll add plenty of salt to the soup through all the ingredients.

Knocking The Heat Down – If you want to bring the heat down a bit, you can remove the seeds from all the peppers. You can even omit the chipotle chile itself, but keep the adobo sauce in. The smoky flavor it provides is too good to cut. If you do have to cut it, have a bottle of chipotle tobasco on the table so that smoky flavor (along with a bit of heat) can make it’s way back in for whomever wants it.

Final Note: It’s hard to pair a beverage with soup, because you’re already filling up on liquid. A good Mexican beer, whether light or dark, would of course pair well. You can also pair a wine with a slightly sweeter note, like Viognier. If you’re feeling really posh, serve some top shelf sipping tequila (no Jose Cuervo Gold!), along with a light appetizer, prior to dinner. You might just get your sleep over after all. Stay hungry my friends.

Posole in pot

Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to (say what?). Those tears you see whenever she eats this soup? They’re not from the heat, but from the incredible flavor she can’t get enough of. For more MIFYD posts, click here. Have an incredible tequila to recommend? Leave it in the comments. Really, Sarah wants to know about it.